Author Topic: Best Foreign Films?  (Read 2669 times)

Offline Jacob

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2018, 09:25:15 AM »
Does anyone have any thoughts on the films of Wong Kar-wai?
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Offline martin88nyc

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2018, 11:59:43 AM »
I saw To Live years ago, and it was excellent. I'd love to see it again, but it seems difficult to find to rent.
You can watch movies online for free.
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #32 on: October 06, 2018, 09:56:13 AM »
Does anyone have any thoughts on the films of Wong Kar-wai?

I find him to be lopsided in his talent, being usually superb on the visual end of things and sorely lacking on the story side.  With that in mind, my favorite of his is 2046, which has either a complicated plot or hardly one at all (it's difficult to tell) but is phenomenal on all other counts (photography, color, production design, costumes, &c., even the hair stylist should get a mention).  "Mandarin collars and cigarette smoking in decaying Western colonial apartment buildings, with some kind of existential mystery about the past and the future."


 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #33 on: October 06, 2018, 10:09:47 AM »
Now that I think about it, I seem to recall us having exchanged a few words on Westerns before.  I don't know what all you've seen, but the Man with No Name is not the end all be all of Westerns.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance for instance is a movie I think you might enjoy based on what you're looking for.

It occurs to me that the bare-bones plot of one of my favorite Bergman films, The Virgin Spring, could've been revised and tinkered with sufficiently to make a Hollywood Western.  But had that happened, I can only imagine that Max von Sydow's character would've been split into two different characters.  First you would have the wronged father, and then you would have a sullen moody gunslinger hired to take revenge.  It would rely more on a contrast of caricatures.  I'm not saying all Westerns are guilty of that, and maybe it isn't fair to compare them to The Virgin Spring, but that's generally how my (admittedly limited) experience has been.  I will add The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to my watch list, though.
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2018, 10:32:05 AM »
I guess maybe another thing about Westerns is that during the "reign of the studio system" days, you had the Western on one hand and the film noir on the other.  I much prefer the latter.  Certainly the most iconic Western actor was John Wayne, and for noir it would probably be Robert Mitchum.  I think the difference between those two actors also sums up my personal preference.  I don't know why I'm so hung up on not liking Westerns here.  Sorry.
 

Online Maximilian

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #35 on: October 07, 2018, 12:41:58 AM »

I guess maybe another thing about Westerns is that during the "reign of the studio system" days, you had the Western on one hand and the film noir on the other.  I much prefer the latter. 

I'm a huge Raymond Chandler fan; however, I find that it's very difficult to translate the qualities of good detective fiction to the screen.


Certainly the most iconic Western actor was John Wayne, and for noir it would probably be Robert Mitchum.  I think the difference between those two actors also sums up my personal preference.

Robert Mitchum does nothing for me. I had a high-school teacher who showed us "Night of the Hunter," but I didn't find it believable.

For John Wayne, on the other hand, you just need 2 words "True Grit." I'm not bad-mouthing the new version of the movie, since I haven't seen it, and it might be very good, but for me the original is the classic.

On a side note, if you read the book, which was a big best-seller of the sixties, it's all about predestination. And it's much better on that subject than any discussion that I can recall here on SD.

 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #36 on: October 07, 2018, 08:36:04 AM »
The character Mattie Ross is a Presbysterian, and thus, Calvinist.

So I'm not surprised your heretical mindset finds her otherwise dreadful theology enjoyable in addition to her delightful repartee.

A better character study of the same era, of those of that same belief, is found in Isabella Bird's "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains", a series of letters home to her sister in England regarding her travels in the west. In it, she describes a family with whom she briefly stayed named the Chalmers.

In part:

Quote
But oh! what a hard, narrow life it is with which I am now in contact! A narrow and unattractive religion, which I believe still to be genuine, and an intense but narrow patriotism, are the only higher influences. Chalmers came from Illinois nine years ago, pronounced by the doctors to be far gone in consumption, and in two years he was strong. They are a queer family; somewhere in the remote Highlands I have seen such another. Its head is tall, gaunt, lean, and ragged, and has lost one eye. On an English road one would think him a starving or a dangerous beggar. He is slightly intelligent, very opinionated, and wishes to be thought well informed, which he is not. He belongs to the straitest sect of Reformed Presbyterians ("Psalm-singers"), but exaggerates anything of bigotry and intolerance which may characterize them, and rejoices in truly merciless fashion over the excision of the philanthropic Mr. Stuart, of Philadelphia, for worshipping with congregations which sing hymns. His great boast is that his ancestors were Scottish Covenanters. He considers himself a profound theologian, and by the pine logs at night discourses to me on the mysteries of the eternal counsels and the divine decrees. Colorado, with its progress and its future, is also a constant theme. He hates England with a bitter, personal hatred, and regards any allusions which I make to the progress of Victoria as a personal insult. He trusts to live to see the downfall of the British monarchy and the disintegration of the empire. He is very fond of talking, and asks me a great deal about my travels, but if I speak favorably of the climate or resources of any other country, he regards it as a slur on Colorado.

They have one hundred and sixty acres of land, a "Squatter's claim," and an invaluable water power. He is a lumberer, and has a saw-mill of a very primitive kind. I notice that every day something goes wrong with it, and this is the case throughout. If he wants to haul timber down, one or other of the oxen cannot be found; or if the timber is actually under way, a wheel or a part of the harness gives way, and the whole affair is at a standstill for days. The cabin is hardly a shelter, but is allowed to remain in ruins because the foundation of a frame house was once dug. A horse is always sure to be lame for want of a shoe nail, or a saddle to be useless from a broken buckle, and the wagon and harness are a marvel of temporary shifts, patchings, and insecure linkings with strands of rope. Nothing is ever ready or whole when it is wanted. Yet Chalmers is a frugal, sober, hard-working man, and he, his eldest son, and a "hired man" "Rise early," "going forth to their work and labor till the evening"; and if they do not "late take rest," they truly "eat the bread of carefulness." It is hardly surprising that nine years of persevering shiftlessness should have resulted in nothing but the ability to procure the bare necessaries of life.

Of Mrs. C. I can say less. She looks like one of the English poor women of our childhood—lean, clean, toothless, and speaks, like some of them, in a piping, discontented voice, which seems to convey a personal reproach. All her waking hours are spent in a large sun-bonnet. She is never idle for one minute, is severe and hard, and despises everything but work. I think she suffers from her husband's shiftlessness. She always speaks of me as "This" or "that woman." The family consists of a grown-up son, a shiftless, melancholy-looking youth, who possibly pines for a wider life; a girl of sixteen, a sour, repellent-looking creature, with as much manners as a pig; and three hard, un-child-like younger children. By the whole family all courtesy and gentleness of act or speech seem regarded as "works of the flesh," if not of "the devil." They knock over all one's things without apologizing or picking them up, and when I thank them for anything they look grimly amazed. I feel that they think it sinful that I do not work as hard as they do. I wish I could show them "a more excellent way." This hard greed, and the exclusive pursuit of gain, with the indifference to all which does not aid in its acquisition, are eating up family love and life throughout the West. I write this reluctantly, and after a total experience of nearly two years in the United States. They seem to have no "Sunday clothes," and few of any kind. The sewing machine, like most other things, is out of order. One comb serves the whole family. Mrs. C. is cleanly in her person and dress, and the food, though poor, is clean. Work, work, work, is their day and their life. They are thoroughly ungenial, and have that air of suspicion in speaking of every one which is not unusual in the land of their ancestors. Thomas Chalmers is the man's ecclesiastical hero, in spite of his own severe Puritanism. Their live stock consists of two wretched horses, a fairly good bronco mare, a mule, four badly-bred cows, four gaunt and famished-looking oxen, some swine of singularly active habits, and plenty of poultry. The old saddles are tied on with twine; one side of the bridle is a worn-out strap and the other a rope. They wear boots, but never two of one pair, and never blacked, of course, but no stockings. They think it quite effeminate to sleep under a roof, except during the severest months of the year. There is a married daughter across the river, just the same hard, loveless, moral, hard-working being as her mother. Each morning, soon after seven, when I have swept the cabin, the family come in for "worship." Chalmers "wales" a psalm, in every sense of the word wail, to the most doleful of dismal tunes; they read a chapter round, and he prays. If his prayer has something of the tone of the imprecatory psalms, he has high authority in his favor; and if there be a tinge of the Pharisaic thanksgiving, it is hardly surprising that he is grateful that he is not as other men are when he contemplates the general godlessness of the region.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 08:42:27 AM by Gardener »
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2018, 08:51:43 AM »
Robert Mitchum does nothing for me. I had a high-school teacher who showed us "Night of the Hunter," but I didn't find it believable.

For John Wayne, on the other hand, you just need 2 words "True Grit." I'm not bad-mouthing the new version of the movie, since I haven't seen it, and it might be very good, but for me the original is the classic.

I've seen both versions of True Grit, although to be fair, I was probably about ten or eleven when I saw the original.  I remember us kids had misbehaved during the day and lost our privilege of going to the video store and having a voice in selecting that weekend's movie rental.  When Dad came back from the video store he announced, "I got one of the greatest movies ever made."  I didn't think it fit the billing.

Like you, I was in my teens when I saw Night of the Hunter.  It remains probably my favorite Robert Mitchum movie.  I consider it rare among films from its time in how commendably heavy it is on mood and atmosphere.  I haven't read the book for True Grit, but I will certainly agree with you on discussions of predestination here.  If they're illustrative of anything, it's in how thoroughly the Augustinian doctrine has fallen into rejection among Catholics.  Add it to the list of doctrines, perhaps, along with infallibility, indefectibility, and Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, for which it's "game over."
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2018, 09:10:46 AM »
The Augustinian approach was foreign to the entire East, and was never consistent even in the West (for Augustine was inconsistent). "Catholics" in this sense is a very small subset of the entire Church.

Ask Max his opinion on infallibility and Vatican 1.

Maybe he'll deliver his soliloquy in French, on video, to keep with the thread theme. I suggest black and white with a plaintive soundtrack of minimalistic piano and a lone accordion somewhere interspersed. Perhaps there will be a Calvinistic sub-theme, with sprinkles of praise for Jansenism thrown in to ensure the listener definitely finds Sartre uplifting in light of it.

 ::)
-------

On topic:

While not a completely foreign film, and with scenes which are inappropriate, I found Babel to be a fascinating look at the interconnectedness of pain in disparate narratives. Utterly depressing, which my wife would say is why I liked it.
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.

Woe is me, because I have held my peace. Isaiah 6
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2018, 09:31:50 AM »
The Augustinian approach was foreign to the entire East, and was never consistent even in the West (for Augustine was inconsistent). "Catholics" in this sense is a very small subset of the entire Church.

True.  The controversy itself was between two Latins, and may not've been the subject of such hot concern in the East.  But Pelagianism was solemnly condemned.  So was Arianism once, although it kept persisting in shades of semi-Arianism for centuries.  Thus did Pelagianism survive in cleverly evasive and watered-down forms: most Catholics (though they may spin it such that they deny the charge) hold to some shade of semi-Pelagianism.  I will concede that this isn't a recent development; Jansen was probably the last influential apologist for St. Augustine, and his side lost.  And even then he was in a minority.  For the Augustinian doctrine, it has been a slow, persistent, nearly a thousand-years-or-so slide into irrelevance.

Some doctrines are overturned with a swift chop of the axe, like at Vatican II.  Others die a death of a thousand cuts.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2018, 10:55:31 AM by Pon de Replay »
 

Online Maximilian

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2018, 03:27:10 PM »

  Thus did Pelagianism survive in cleverly evasive and watered-down forms: most Catholics (though they may spin it such that they deny the charge) hold to some shade of semi-Pelagianism. 

No need to add "semi-" to "Pelagianism."

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Offline samguk yusa

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2018, 08:15:59 PM »
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« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 03:29:00 AM by samguk yusa »
 

Online Maximilian

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2018, 01:19:22 AM »

Certainly the most iconic Western actor was John Wayne, and for noir it would probably be Robert Mitchum.  I think the difference between those two actors also sums up my personal preference.

Good news -- just added to Amazon "Free with Prime":

 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2018, 08:59:03 AM »
That's just in time, as I won't be letting my Amazon Prime subscription renew next month.
 
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: Best Foreign Films?
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2018, 11:42:45 AM »
Has anyone mentioned the Pink Panther franchise?
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